Big money in politics corrupts the process by which our laws get made. Major contributors are able to have a disproportionate impact on the outcome of elections, such that few reform-minded individuals win office. Too often, this means some of the state’s most pressing environmental problems, like the state’s disappearing open spaces and its increasing air pollution, don’t get solved.
The North Carolina General Assembly’s failure thus far in taking even small steps toward stopping sprawling development provides a clear example of how big money in politics can thwart popular reforms that would protect the state’s environment and public health.
North Carolina loses over 400 acres of forest and farmland every day—the fifth fastest rate in the country. This in turn leads to degraded environmental conditions. Smog pollution triggers 240,000 asthma attacks across the state each year. Pavement covering the soil that once filtered our water causes two-thirds of North Carolina’s water pollution. These problems are all results of the runaway, unplanned development known as sprawl.
The public overwhelmingly supports solutions to these problems. In many polls, North Carolinians have expressed a readiness to change the rules for growth to protect the state’s natural heritage.
Individuals and industries that profit from sprawl development—developers, realtor's, and construction companies—feel differently. They have invested vast sums of money in political campaigns, at least in part to guard against land-use reform.Locally they are known as the TREBIC CARTEL These campaign contributions from pro-sprawl interests totaled nearly $8 million in the 2000 election cycle to North Carolina legislative and statewide candidates.
Campaign contributions from pro-sprawl interests included the following during the 2000 election cycle:
$5 million from builders, contractors and developers.
$3 million from the real estate industry.
$400,000 from real estate and construction PACs.
$461,000 from the top three donors: $217,000 from the Shelton Companies of Charlotte; $132,000 from the Wilmington-based network of John Elmore, Henry E. Miller and Lionel Yow; and $112,000 from attorney, developer, and new Board of Transportation member Lanny Wilson, also from Wilmington.
In the 2001-2002 legislative session, champions of land-use reform put forward several proposals to begin to curb sprawl. Recognizing the financial clout of the developers, they kept their reforms modest. Yet anti-reform legislators supported by developers and Realtors have pushed aside even these modest measures, in most cases not even allowing debate on proposals.
Land-use reforms should be debated on a level playing field. For this to happen, public officials must better reflect the opinions and diversity of the citizens of the state.
Public financing of elections would help to create a level playing field. In such a system, any candidate who has amassed the support of enough individual voters can be within striking distance of winning an election for state office. Once they qualify, candidates use public money for their campaigns, not money from special interests. Land-use reforms should be debated on a level playing field.
An effective public financing system must contain three key elements:
Local fundraising requirements to ensure that candidates serve their constituents rather than out-of-district wealthy special interests.
A qualification requirement of a large number of contributions at a level that ordinary citizens can afford.
Matching funds to help publicly-financed candidates running against candidates funded by large amounts of private money.
Developer Dollars: How Campaign Contributions Overpower Growth Management Efforts in North Carolina - Environment North Carolina
Environment North Carolina CLICK HERE had this report that should be a wake up call to the citizens of all of Guilford County where as stated in the actual report, "The disproportionate influence of pro-sprawl interest over who gets elected to office is a clear barrier to the enactment of land-use interest ." If you want to see the whole report CLICK HERE
Also, all you have to do is go to the Greensboro City web site CLICK HERE then go to the citizen advisory team member area and see the list people who are in charge of the Land Development Ordinance Committee for the City of Greensboro,
Here they are,
Gary Rogers with Starmount Company,
Trip Brown with Brown Investment,
Keith Price with Samet Companies,
James Cox with Mid-City Urban,
Jessica Marlies with Brooks Pierce Law Firm,
Mike Fox with Tuggles Duggins Law Firm,
Dick Franks with Koury Corp.,
Gary Hill with McAlphine Company,
Gary Wolf with SparrowWolf Law Firm,
Mary Skenes with Yost and Little.
So 10 out of 14 are TREBIC members or close allies with TREBIC for the Land Development Ordinance Citizen Advisory Team. TREBIC CARTEL is the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition.
Note to David Wharton are the lawyers also members of the TREBIC ?
Silver Members of TREBIC CARTEL:
Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP
Sparrow Wolf & Dennis, P.A.
Tuggle Duggins & Meschan, P.A.
It is like the fox guarding the hen house.
As said by local Lawyer Reid Phillips ,boards get packed with TREBIC all the time especially in Greensboro where as Mike Barber said at a Greensboro City Council meeting on April 1st 2008 "TREBIC has been contacted and TREBIC has some interest".
To add another bone to this issue in that last Monday night August 4, 2008 Greensboro City Council Member Mike Barber made a appointment to the zoning board who is also his campaign treasurer and also a TREBIC CARTEL member in Mary Skenes.
Enough is enough